June 19, 2020

Extension of COVID-19 Administrative Flexibilities

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued Memorandum 20-26 to extend selected administrative, financial, and audit requirement flexibilities related to COVID-19 to recipients of federal financial assistance awards (grants) previously made available under OMB Memorandum 20-17, which expired on June 16, 2020.

What does this mean to principal investigators and research administrators?

Federal sponsors now have the authority to take the following actions If they choose to do so. The flexibilities made available to federal agencies and listed below are time limited and will expire on September 30, 2020. Each federal agency will determine if and how it will implement this guidance. The agency-specific information will be posted on the SPO website as it is received.
  • Awarding agencies may allow the University to continue to charge salaries and benefits to active federal awards consistent with the University’s policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, federal and non-federal. Note: Such payroll costs must not be charged to active federal awards if the cost has already been paid from another federal source, e.g., any federal CARES Act programs.
  • Awarding agencies may allow other costs to be charged to federal grants if the cost is necessary to resume activities supported by the award, consistent with applicable fderal cost principles and the benefit to the project.
  • Awarding agencies will evaluate the PI’s ability to resume the project activity in the future and the appropriateness of future funding, as done under normal circumstances based on subsequent progress reports and other communications with the grantee.
OMB also has directed federal sponsors to inform recipients of federal grants that they should exhaust other available funding resources to sustain project personnel and implement necessary steps to save overall operational costs (such as rent renegotiations) as much as possible during the pandemic period in order to preserve federal funds for the ramp-up effort. Recipients will need to document these efforts.

Each federal agency will determine if and how it will implement this guidance. Please consult the SPO website for updates.